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The Unschooling Unmanual

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The Unschooling Unmanual features 11 essays by 8 writers: Nanda Van Gestel, Jan Hunt, Daniel Quinn, Rue Kream, Kim Houssenloge, Earl Stevens, and Mary Van Doren. Through engaging personal stories, examples, and essays, the writers offer inspiration and encouragement for seasoned and prospective unschoolers alike.
Paperback, 91 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Natural Child Project
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Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Amazing! It's short, but really got me thinking about the 'educational system', and what it means to learn. There are a lot of references to John Holt by the various writers that contributed, and I am inspired by them to go out and get books about children and learning that he wrote.

Some passages I particularly enjoyed:

"I can sum up in five to seven words what I eventually learned an a teacher. The seven-word version is: Learning is not the product of teaching. The five-word version is: Teaching
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All parents
Recommended to Alba by:
This book is a must read if you are a parent. I know it is about a style of homeschooling, but the information teaches much on the development of children and how they learn. If you are already an unschooler, it serves as a book of encouragement and as a reminder of why you do what you do. If you are a homeschooler of other methods, I think it is an eye opening approach that should be considered. If you are finding your way in the homeschool world, this would be helpful in your search as you con ...more
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A short (88 pages) book of essays about the benefits of unschooling.

"Schooling: The Hidden Agenda" by Daniel Quinn gives the best description of why our public schools are failing. And John Holt, who went from (public) teacher of the year to a leading force in the unschooling movement, writes a beautiful essay on children as natural learners.

Recommended for anyone who is unsure whether they are 'qualified' to teach their own.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good place to go when feeling unsure about unschooling. It's not much of a "here's what we did" since it will be so different for every family, but much more philosophical. In the end, it absolutely helped me understand unschooling better but also helped me better define why it wasn't the right choice for my family.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a slim volume, so it isn't an overwhelming read. A nice series of essays to read before the school year to renew my trust in myself and my children's ability to learn. We're not really unschoolers, but I would like to say that my approach is at least informed by an understanding of the unschooling philosophy.
Deirdre Keating
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: essaycollections
I thought I'd kick off the new school year by reading about how depressing schools are. Yay!
I'm reading John Holt at the same time, and found the best parts to be his essay and his quotes throughout this slim book.
Aug 11, 2010 rated it liked it
A collection of essays about unschooling, mainly written by parents of unschoolers. The type-setting and editing is pretty bad, but otherwise it's a pretty good book. It explains what unschooling is and addresses most of the major concerns, though in a rather fluffy way. Some of the problems with the standard K-12 system that they point out are so dead-on, and some of the ways they word it, it seems almost shocking and absurd that such a system even exists, let alone that everyone sends their ki ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This book made me feel guilty about not planning to homeschool! There were some points I had to disagree with however. For example, it is quite useful to learn when you really do have to listen to someone and do what they say. Also, there are quite a few times when adults have to sit down inside and work even when they want to be outside doing something else! I left it casually around so that John could glance through it (with predictably hrumph-type results).
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. It's super-short, just a collection of essays by unschoolers, but it's nice reassurance for anyone seriously considering going this route, and probably a good read for those who're on the fence or just curious.
Angela Wade
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschooling
Not nearly as hippie a concept as I was expecting. Couldn't put it down, and the arguments made a lot of sense.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
A short collection of people patting themselves on the back for unschooling. Nothing new or particularly helpful.
It's not the "how to" I thought it would be, given the title, but it is a short and lovely collection of explanations of why people choose to unschool.
Jannah (Cloud Child)
I love this little book bundled with different memoirs and thoughts and excerpts from authors and from different people on Unschooling. And so much is quotable and sense <3 Great book to have a quick read on and get thoughts to share with others. Its not a how to or a guide, rather a source of inspiration. It would be interesting to have a more up to date version of this book to apply to current generation of social media and technology habits.

Some of the ones I highlighted (I highlighted a TON
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschool
A quick, easy read. This short book is a compilation of essays and experiences that the contributors had with unschooling. Some have children who are still young, while others have children who are teens or young adults. I appreciated the perspective that was offered, and I would be interested in reading more of John Holt’s works (pioneer of the unschooling approach).
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education-read
Excellent! I think this book, or rather, collection of essays, has single-handledly convinced me to continue homeschooling this coming Fall, or at the very least, seek out different options instead of jumping back into the public school setting out of fear. It also has helped my continued resolve to relax my public-school-at-home mentality. It's a tough road to step off that conveyor belt! I loved the essay entitled "What About College?," and of course, John Holt's essay was good. The book makes ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really like the idea of child-directed learning, but actually allowing it to happen, without feeling like I have to be initiating the learning opportunities, is difficult for me. This book gave me the inspiration I need to loosen up a bit and to trust my children more. To recognize their natural desire to learn, even if it isn't about the things I think they should be learning in the here and now. And the immense life-long rewards that can come as a result. It's a compilation from multiple aut ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is very short, shorter than they claim because frequently, you'll have a whole page dedicated to one quote, and if a chapter ends on the left/back of the page, instead of starting the next chapter on the right/front of the next page, they leave it blank. I found that to be a little annoying. Anyway, this is good for someone who is new to unschooling, but if you've read a lot about it, you already know what they're going to say. Not exactly what I expected but still a good book.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read many different books on unschooling but this was one of my favorites! I liked that it was a short easy read but was filled with so much information and it was a book of short essays, written by different people! Some books I've read on the topic are longer and good but tend to say the same things over and over! This book was to the point and covered different aspects of unschooling from informative to experiential.
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Short, heartfelt essays from many different angles are a quick read and make a wonderful mosaic of the "unschooling" movement. I found this the perfect reassurance for the decisions our family has made over the past year and would highly recommend it to parents and anyone who wants to understand why someone might choose to not school their child.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Through reading this book I have a better understanding of unschooling - though it is not for me or my family. Some of the essays were bland or poorly written, but I now feel more relaxed about homeschooling and letting my children guide the social studies and science topics of their education. I agree that children will seek out learning opportunities if you step back and give them a chance.
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
A book filled with good arguments in favor of unschooling, and information on what to expect. I only wish I had a paper copy so I could conveniently leave it somewhere for my husband and mother to read...
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
A quick and easy look at the philosophy/lifestyle of unschooling through brief essays by various authors and activists. This is the first book I've read on unschooling specifically and it definitely peaked my interest and left me wanting to read more.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Attachment Parents, People looking into unschooling
Shelves: unschooling
A quick read - but repetitive for those who've read lots of unschooling books. This would be good to give someone who is looking into unschooling.
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So far an absolutely wonderfully insightful book.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has me really fired up and excited about unschooling my children. The essay by Daniel Quinn has changed my life. I can't wait to read books by John Holt and Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of essays of what unschooling is and why it's a Good Thing. I'm still wrapping my head around it, since any decision about this is huge, but I have to say, the tenants make sense.
This was more like a long pamphlet introducing the reader to the philosophy behind the unschooling approach. I didn't need the convincing, but am still glad I read it.
Rma Owl
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
helped me to decide to homeschool/unschool
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of essays.
Josh Steimle
Jun 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A nice collection of essays by unschooling parents. Good for someone who is fearful about taking the step to unschool or homeschool.
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